Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.


There are men in our day who have studied the Bible and come to the conclusion that since God is vocal in His universe, there is no such thing as an inspired canon of Scripture containing a full body of revealed truth that can serve as the one final source of doctrine and practice. These teachers reason that if God is still speaking, then we must keep our minds open to further revelation given, it may be, through poets, philosophers, scientists and religionists of various kinds. They would insist that wherever new truth is discovered or new and advanced ideas are brought forth, there God is speaking again as He once spoke by the prophet and seer in olden times. While we grant such men the right to believe what they will, this one thing is settled: whoever, for whatever reason, denies the finality of the biblical revelation and insists upon a continuing revelation having the same authority as the sacred Scriptures has shut himself out from the name of Christian! He is simply not a Christian in the scriptural and historic meaning of the word.

Between the ideas of a fixed biblical canon and a constantly speaking God there is no contradiction! The point I make is that if the living voice of God were not speaking in the world and in the hearts of men the written Word could have no real meaning for us.[1]

2:1 The writer has just completed his argument that Christ is supremely better than the angels because He is the Son of God. Before showing that He is also superior as Son of Man, he pauses to inject the first of several solemn warnings that are found in the Epistle. This is a warning against drifting away from the message of the gospel.

Because of the greatness of the Giver and because of the greatness of His gift, those who hear the gospel must give more serious attention to it. There is always the danger of drifting away from the Person and slipping back into a religion of pictures. This means drifting into apostasy—the sin for which there is no repentance.[2]

1 The danger is of “drifting away,” an unusual word that means more literally, “to flow by,” as of a river (or perhaps a drifting boat) effortlessly slipping past—not primarily doing something they should not, so much as failing to take positive action and merely allowing things to slide. The antidote to such carelessness is to “pay more careful attention to what we have heard,” which in vv. 3–4 will be spelled out as the message of salvation. They have, of course, heard and responded to the Christian gospel, but that, our author implies, is not on its own enough to guarantee their salvation (a theme that will be more fully developed in the later warning passages); they must continue to take its demands seriously.[3]

2:1 closer attention … drift away. Both phrases have nautical connotations. The first refers to mooring a ship, tying it up at the dock. The second was often used of a ship that had been allowed to drift past the harbor. The warning is to secure oneself to the truth of the gospel, being careful not to pass by the only harbor of salvation. The closest attention must be paid to these very serious matters of the Christian faith. The readers in their tendency to apathy are in danger of making shipwreck of their lives (cf. 6:19; see note on 1Ti 1:19).[4]

2:1 Therefore. Since Jesus is superior to the angels, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard because this message of the Son of God is also superior to prior revelation, which came through angels (cf. v. 2). To drift away results in dangerous “neglect” of the message (v. 3).[5]

[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2161). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 47–48). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Heb 2:1). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2363). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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